Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 13 Hansard (26 November) . . Page.. 4736 ..
MR CORNWELL (continuing):
deal to say about illegal, perhaps even economic refugees, turning up in leaky boats being locked up. "This is appalling, this is terrible, this is tragedy!"This is also the law of Australia. But they have nothing much to say about locking up local criminals. To repeat: soft on crime, good old sock, is the Labor Party's mantra as far as law and order is concerned.
The phrase I hear most about crime in Canberra from ordinary people is a sad, apathetic remark that nothing will happen in relation to some outrage, some criminal offence. "Nothing will happen."Why? Because the average law-abiding citizen has lost all faith in justice in the ACT. There is no guarantee that this will improve with the introduction of the bill of rorts-pardon me, Mr Speaker-rights. It is quite the opposite, I understand, because under the bill matters will be resolved by ACT courts-the very body that no longer has the confidence of the general public to deliver justice.
Mr Corbell: On a point of order, Mr Speaker: it is highly disorderly to reflect upon the judiciary, which is exactly what Mr Cornwell is doing.
MR SPEAKER: I think he is reflecting.
MR CORNWELL: On the point of order, Mr Speaker: I did not reflect on the judiciary. I said "courts".
Mr Hargreaves: You said that they don't have the confidence of the community.
MR CORNWELL: Mr Stanhope said that the courts won't sentence at all and that we had to trust our courts. I would suggest that the "won't sentence at all"-if Mr Corbell is raising this question-is equally critical. But I did not mention the judiciary; I mentioned courts.
MR SPEAKER: Standing order 54 makes it clear that you cannot use offensive words against the Assembly or any member of the Assembly or against any member of the judiciary. I have not heard any offensive words against a member of the judiciary.
MR CORNWELL: Thank you for your protection, Mr Speaker. I repeat that it is a problem that under the bill criminal matters will be resolved by the very body, the ACT courts, that no longer has the confidence of the general public in the delivery of justice. This is certainly my experience out there in the community. Further, as the name implies, we are talking about a bill of rights, not responsibilities.
MR SPEAKER: Order! The bill of rights has got nothing to do with this debate.
MR CORNWELL: With respect, Mr Speaker, what law and justice lack in the territory are responsibilities. The approach is that we no longer believe that people should be punished for criminal activity. Yes, we are planning a prison. I accept that. But the way the restorative justice people and the rehabilitation people are talking, we will be able to save money on the gates because there won't be any prisoners. It will be more like an upmarket motel.
We had a social homily from Ms Tucker, again, talking about which ones are dangerous and how you rehabilitate them. There was no explanation of how this happens. There has